Police action to help prevent lewd behaviour at rural church

All Saints Church, Rackheath. Photo: Bill Smith

All Saints Church, Rackheath. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2007

A district councillor is confident police are helping to combat ongoing anti-social behaviour which has been described as "abhorrent" at a village church on the outskirts of Norwich.

Access to All Saints Church in Rackheath and the adjoining layby has been restricted for years amid complaints about people meeting for sex at the site.

A locked gate had been put across a country lane leading to the church last summer. It was installed by the landowner to restrict access.

Broadland councillor Fran Whymark, who lives in the village, said local beat manager PC Steve Clarke has been very proactive with the ongoing problem, which previously caused distress for those visiting graves.

The road to All Saints Church, Rackheath, has been blocked after complaints about people meeting in

The road to All Saints Church, Rackheath, has been blocked after complaints about people meeting in cars for sex. Photo: Archant - Credit: Archant

Mr Whymark said: "I believe the police work has made a huge difference, but it is an issue because the area is so remote. I do not think it will eliminate it, only disrupt it because of the remote location but I see the work being done in a very positive way.

"I am not religious, but I still find it very abhorrent to have sex in a churchyard." 

Mr Whymark said the police have also taken positive steps to help prevent sexual activities at the Wroxham Road layby.

He said their work has resulted in the behaviour being "lessened greatly" at the layby.

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The police have been conducting ongoing patrols and putting up signs at the church. 

Scilla Latham, secretary for the Norfolk Churches Trust who are responsible for the church building, said: "Many members of the community are upset and offended with what is going on. I have personally been abused when walking there.

"There has been good feedback about the gate which was installed by the landowner. The location is extremely remote but the police have been attending virtually every day." 

Walkers, photographers and those tending graves had complained about seeing men having sex in cars outside All Saints Church, off Sloe Lane in Rackheath.

They also reported being approached and harassed near the 14th Century building.